For Brands, Social Media Shows Returns but Measurement Hurdles Remain

Executives see improvements in marketing and sales efforts, and market share gains as a result of well-planned campaigns

C-suite executives are increasingly convinced of the benefits of engaging with their customers on social media platforms. A February 2012 survey of 329 senior executives in North America by management and digital consulting firm PulsePoint Group and the Economist Intelligence Unit found that the vast majority of companies who had invested in social media saw a positive shift in their bottom line as a result.

Executives who said their companies had established an extensive social media presence reported a return on investment that was more than four times that of companies with little or no social network engagement activity

Companies should use social media to create spaces for consumers to have meaningful conversations with employees and other stakeholders. Almost seven in 10 respondents said they had seen a spike in their sales by letting customers talk about their brands on social media platforms, even if some of that dialogue was negative. This kind of approach builds trust and credibility with consumers, potentially transforming them into brand advocates whose value is immense, if difficult to measure.

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Google + Gets a Facelift and New Features

With over 170 Million registered users but dismal usage stats, Google + was in need of  CPR

Google just announced a major redesign of Google+ “to make the social network “more functional and flexible.”

According to  the official Google blog, the redesign is part of its plan to make Google+ easier to use.

“By focusing on you, the people you care about and the stuff you’re into, we’re going to continue upgrading all the features you already know and love—from Search and Maps to Gmail and YouTube,” says Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra in the blog post. “With today’s foundational changes, we can move even faster—toward a simpler, more beautiful Google.”

It looks like Google took a hint from critics and finally recognized that they did not need to reinvent the wheel just make it better.  Did they succeed, it’s a little early to say since the new look and features are being deployed as we speak but we can already see that the home page looks pretty familiar, actually, a lot like a mix of the pre “Timeline” Facebook and the new Facebook interface.

Every Facebook redesign draws a lot of criticism and discontent, but will that be enough to breathe life in Google + and increase time spent on the site, which has been seriously lagging ( a few minutes a month, versus Facebook 7+ hours) and recent CNet statistics showing that March time spent increase 27% over February do little to close the gap.

The redesign does not seem to address the botched integration of Google’s other services particularly when it comes to YouTube, and Picasa